Friday, February 12, 2010


Watching "The Biggest Loser Asia" currently being screened Tuesday nights on Astro Channel 702, one can't help but wonder how these contestants got to be that obese. Nobody piles on that amount of fat overnight. What drove every one of them to this physical state? Was it emotional binge-eating? Or were they born on the wrong side of the scale?

Yesterday I read a letter in The Star from a doctor warning of the complications arising from obesity, among them diabetes, heart problems, high blood pressure, strokes, skin disorders and painful joints. The obese person also suffers from depression and low self esteem.

That's not all. According to a report released by the American Institute of Cancer Research, more than 100,000 cases of cancer each year are caused by excess body fat. Obesity not only raises the risk of getting cancer, it also reduces the chances of survival and makes treatment more difficult.

It's not just the adults who are at risk. What's more alarming is that obesity is on the rise among children. I feel parents must share the blame. Who brought home those packets of potato chips and buckets of ice cream from the supermarket? Who caved in when the children wanted fast food? Who ordered fizzy soft drinks to go with the food? Parents, of course. And doting grandparents too. We all stand guilty.

Schools have a part to play as well. Have you seen what is sold in the school canteen? Take a look the next time you visit your child's school. Lots of junk food, deep fried meat and sweetened drinks.

Over-eating and under-exercising is making obesity endemic. Malaysia is hosting the 12th International Congress of Obesity (ICO) in 2014. We have four years to lower our obesity statistics and present Malaysians as among the fittest people in the world.

Are we up to the challenge?

From chubby baby to obese lady? - Not if we make the right lifestyle choices.

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